What Lockdown 5.0 Holds for Companies and SMEs

The government along with the state government is now taking strict measures to regulate the spread of deadly contagion
  • BY Jaspreet Kaur

    Feature Writer, BusinessEx

  • |
  • May 30,2020
  • |
  • 14 Mins Read

As pandemic worsens in the country, the Indian government has decided to extend lockdown till the end of June across the country. The government along with the state government is now taking strict measures to regulate the spread of deadly contagion. Non-containment zones will have relaxed measures in contrast with the containment zones, where supply of essential items will only be permitted.

Also, the time of night curfew has changed by the central government. From June onwards, the movement of individuals during night curfew will be restricted between 9 pm to 5 am. The government has also allowed reopening of restaurants, religious places, hotels, shopping malls and other hospitality services. 

According to the Ministry of Health Affairs (MHA), workplaces and small businesses have to follow some guidelines in order to carry out daily operations. Here are those guidelines as follows:

  1. Small shops should maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places. The shops will ensure physical distancing among customers and will not permit more than 5 persons at a time. 
  2. All individuals should wear face masks in the public places, workplaces and transport. 
  3. As far as possible, the practice of work from home (WFH) should be followed
  4. Staggering of work or business hours will be followed in offices, workplaces, shops, markets and industrial and commercial establishments
  5.  Provision of thermal screening, hand wash and sanitizer will be made at all entry and exit points and common areas
  6. Frequent sanitization of the entire workplace, common facilities and all points which come into human contact for example, door handles will be ensured, including between shifts. 
  7. All persons in charge of workplaces will ensure adequate distance between workers, adequate gaps between shifts, and staggering lunch breaks of staff etc

Other Sectors to Reopen During Lockdown

The central government is planning to reinitiate schools, colleges, educational, training and coaching institutions etc after holding consultations with state governments and union territories (UT). The MHA also states that state governments and UT administrations will hold discussions at the institutional level with parents and other stakeholders. Based on the consultations, a decision will be taken to reopen these institutions in the month of July, 2020.

This move exhibits that the government tries to bounce back the economy by slowly recommencing industries. With recommencing on educational institutions, delayed board exams, entrance tests, college admissions, undergraduate and postgraduate exams will take place by adhering to social distancing norms and safety measures. 

Under the Phase 3, as per the MHA, the government will also take decisions calibrating the present situation and accordingly, permit reopening of international air travel of passengers, metro rail, cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls, and other related places. A decision will also be taken on recommencement of social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious functions, and other large gatherings.    

How will Lockdown Extension be Affecting Indian Economy ? 

As lockdown is extended by one month, many experts have revealed bad impacts that it will create on the Indian economy in its entirety. It is also believed that the economy will shrink and GDP of the current fiscal, hence, be reduced to 2 per cent. 

The estimate has been arrived at with the assumption that the lockdown will extend till mid-July and a restart of the economy will get stretched to August, analysts at Bank of America Securities said in an interview with The Economic Times. 

Supporting this notion, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) anticipated the economy to contract in the financial year 2020-21. However, it has not given a level to it.

Owing to the lockdown, the country’s economy has slowed down immensely. According to The Indian Express’ report, agriculture and public administration and defence, which largely reflect government, continue to drive economic activity. Excluding them, gross value added by the remaining economy grew by a mere 1 per cent in the fourth quarter.

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